How To Make Decorative File Folders

This post is about making decorative file folders that are both pretty and cost very little. The fun part is the decorating!

file folders

Last week when I was in one of my bedroom closets sorting and cleaning, I came across these decorated file folders I made years ago.

I have a small two drawer filing cabinet I have in a closet. But it is just not enough for all my warranties, medical records, pet information, etc. So I took a Walmart dish drainer and created another file system that was more portable.

This project is so much fun. Since I no longer quilt, the crafts I do tend to do are typically “paper crafts.”

I also no longer have a craft room, so all my craft supplies go in this piece of furniture in the living room that holds my TV. Everything is behind these closed doors and in the drawers. Out of sight but where I can easily find supplies.

living room

Back to decorating the file folders. Below you see that I used scrapbook paper, paper doilies, paper clip art from old calendars, clip art I printed from online, and ribbon, etc.

The one below I created for the month of October, so I used Halloween-themed clip art and stickers I had in my stash.

file folder

file folders

file folders

Here’s how to make this very colorful and frugal craft project. First you need plain file folders, which you may already have. But below is a basic list of supplies.


  1. Plain file folders
  2. Stickers
  3. Ribbon
  4. Scrapbook paper
  5. Clip art
  6. Glue/adhesive
  7. Round paper hole punch
  8. Free vintage images online

Actually you can use whatever you have on hand from your craft supply stash. That’s what I did. I keep on hand little containers of various craft supplies like clip art and stickers, etc., along with leftover scraps of scrapbook paper.

I cut out scrapbook paper to “frame” the vintage images I printed on my printer. (I tend to look for vintage images of children.)

Then I glued the image to the “frame” of scrapbook paper that was cut a little larger than the image.

I glued these various pieces of clip art, etc. to the front of my file folders until I was pleased with my arrangement.

Finally I used a simple round hole punch to punch holes in the sides of the file folders, front to back. I punched one set of holes toward the top and one toward the bottom of the sides of the file folders.

I then took ribbon and put it through both holes, front to back, and tied the front and the back together so that whatever I put in the file folder stays there and doesn’t fall out.

Get creative and use whatever you like to decorate these file folders. You could even make a set of them (one for each month of the year) for gifts. Someone who doesn’t do crafts might appreciate these decorative file folders for their own needs.

This would also be a fun project for the kids or grandkids.



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  1. Love this crafty idea. I too like paper crafts and this is such a nice way to ” pretty up” something that is so plain. Thank you for sharing♡

  2. So pretty! I have a filing cabinet to hold my file folders that I use for tax purposes, medical information, etc. but the decorative file folders for my To Do lists, projects, gardening ideas, etc. would look great on my desk. And I already have so many of the items needed to create them. And I love the idea of the dish rack to hold them.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love these folders and how you’ve decorated them. I’d like to make some and store recipes in them. The red dish rack is perfect too! Love how convenient this would make it to carry the folders to the table with a cup of coffee to peruse looking for ideas for meals or baking goodies. Cute way to get organized and show creativity too. Thanks Brenda for sharing your ideas !

  4. Those are really, really cute,Brenda. I found some pink ones that I love-but they would be fun dolled up a bit, too. Have a good weekend, Brenda. xo Diana

  5. I remember when you first made these! They’re so creative and pretty. All my file folders are in a drawer in my desk and then we have a ton of filing stuff in special boxes in the basement, so no pretty folders needed here. I also like how you have your pretty folders displayed in the dish rack. Makes a great quick filing system!

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